Ten Marketing Research Ideas To Help Grow Your Business


Idea #10 - Try to create a company environment where "customer complaints" will be viewed by employees as a potential "growth opportunity" and not a threat.


It is surprising the number of companies that discourage their employees from passing "bad news" up the ranks to top management. This is done in a number of not-so-subtle ways. For example, one senior executive has a sign on his desk that states: "No Surprises Please!" Another executive has forbidden his entire sales force from using the word "problem," in any inter-office communication. This type of "politically correct" environment severely hampers the upward flow of honest, unfiltered communication from all levels of the organization to the key decision makers in senior management. In short, it can keep top management isolated from receiving the full truth about its customers - particularly those current and former customers who are dissatisfied with the company's products or services.


In sharp contrast to this controlled, filtered environment is a far more open company culture that actively seeks all information regardless of who within the organization is responsible. A company that promotes this more open culture would consider the following types of initiatives regarding their customer research activities:

  1. An ongoing survey of all front-line employees who have direct contact with customers to help identify any complaints, even those that appear to be minor.
  2. A product return program that encourages customers to explain more thoroughly the reasons the company's product failed to fully meet their needs.
  3. An in-depth tracking survey of all former customers to identify those specific reasons and factors that led to a change in their buying behavior.


Gaining a better understanding of anything that "went wrong" when serving customers can easily lead to new opportunities to develop improved products. In addition, this more open company culture can do wonders for employee morale.